Container data center or better modular construction?
Structure, development history and disadvantages in comparison with modular data centers

Container data center

Request now


A containerized data center consists of a standardized shipping container, usually based on shipping containers. Inside the container are all the necessary components of a data center, including servers, storage, network hardware, power supply, cooling and fire protection systems. The containers can be deployed at different locations as needed and can be moved quickly and easily if required.

History of development

The idea of the container data center emerged in the 2000s in response to the growing demand for flexible and rapidly deployable data center infrastructures. Pioneers in this field included companies such as Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle) and Google. Sun Microsystems unveiled “Project Blackbox” in 2006, considered the first commercial container data center. Google filed a patent in 2005 for a “water-based data center in a container” that allows servers to be cooled by natural water sources such as rivers or oceans.

Although container data centers offer many advantages due to their mobility, flexibility and rapid deployment, there are some disadvantages compared to modular data centers. Here are some of the key points:

01 Room height and width:

Container data centers are generally limited in terms of space due to their design. Compared to modular data centers, which can be individually adapted to the operator’s requirements, container data centers are limited to the dimensions of a standard maritime container. This results in restricted room heights and widths, which makes it difficult to arrange and access IT systems and can impair scalability.

02 Fire Protection:

Container data centers are often less well protected against fires than conventional data centers or those of modular construction. Because they are mostly made of steel and highly combustible materials, they are more susceptible to fire and its consequences. Modular data centers, on the other hand, can include specially designed fire protection systems and measures that ensure the protection of the IT infrastructure and employees.

03 Energy efficiency:

Container data centers are often less energy efficient than modular data centers due to their design. The compact design and limited options for customization can make it difficult to cool IT systems. Modular data centers usually offer more options for integrating efficient cooling systems, such as free cooling or hot aisle/cold aisle containment, which reduce energy consumption and improve power usage effectiveness (PUE) values.

04 Adaptability:

Container data centers are generally less adaptable than modular data centers. IT infrastructure requirements can change over time, and container data centers offer less flexibility for adaptation or expansion due to their limited dimensions and structure. Modular data centers, on the other hand, are designed to be more flexible and can be adapted more easily to changing needs.

05 Sound insulation:

Since container data centers are usually made of thin steel walls, they offer less noise protection than modular data centers. This can lead to higher noise levels for employees, especially if several container data centers are operated in close proximity to each other. Modular data centers, on the other hand, can offer better soundproofing solutions that reduce noise levels and improve working conditions for employees.

Request your
Container now

To request

Despite these disadvantages, container data centers can be a suitable solution for certain use cases and in special situations, such as temporary projects, rapid deployment or as a supplement to existing data centers. Nevertheless, operators should carefully weigh the aforementioned limitations and disadvantages before deciding on a container data center.

Modular data centers in many cases offer greater flexibility, better energy efficiency and increased protection for the IT infrastructure. They can be adapted to individual requirements and expanded as needed, making them a future-proof and sustainable solution for data management.


In summary, containerized data centers can offer advantages in certain situations, but the disadvantages compared to modular data centers in terms of room height, room width, fire protection and energy efficiency should be considered. In many cases, modular data centers are the preferred choice because they offer greater flexibility, adaptability and efficiency while ensuring the protection of IT infrastructure and staff. Operators should carefully consider their specific requirements and needs to find the optimal solution for their data center.

Show more

Request your Cadolto data center

Ask for the solution that perfectly fits your requirements!

    Why are you planning a new data center?


    Choose one of the variants


    For what purpose is the data center to be built?


    Choose one of the variants


    Please fill out the fields. We will get in touch with you immediately.

    Thanks for your request!

    We will contact you as soon as possible.

    To the home page